Mr. Thomas Albrecht is the Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra, with geographical responsibility for 16 Pacific countries. Mr. Albrecht’s role is to work with governments and other partners to ensure all persons of concern to UNHCR, including refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons, receive protection, assistance and durable solutions to their plight. He is also keen to promote long-term cooperation on the protection of persons of concern in the region, and to increase understanding and support for refugees worldwide.
Prior to taking up this assignment in early 2014, Mr. Albrecht served as Head of the UNHCR Regional Support Hub in Nairobi, which, in close collaboration with the Organization’s Headquarters, works with offices in the East and Horn of Africa as well as the Great Lakes Region to ensure strategic coherence, programme quality and results, management effectiveness and financial due diligence and accountability for UNHCR's operations. The particular areas covered include registration and profiling, refugee systems, geographic information systems and mapping, data analysis and survey methodology, status determination and protection information, resettlement, women and children, education, public health, health information systems, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, nutrition and food security, physical planning and shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, regional liaison and external relations, field safety, staff welfare, supply management, telecommunications and power systems, information systems, public information and mass communication as well as financial management services.
From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Albrecht served as Deputy Regional Representative at the UNHCR Regional Representation for the United States of America and the Caribbean, located in Washington. His responsibilities there included overseeing the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons in over 20 countries and territories of the region as well as finding lasting solutions to their problems. Before coming to Washington in October 2005, Mr. Albrecht was the UNHCR Representative in Ghana.
Mr. Albrecht joined UNHCR in 1987 and worked in refugee situations in the East and Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, the Americas as well as Eastern and Central Europe. These operations related to refugee protection, emergencies, capacity building efforts as well as the advancement of durable solutions for refugees, with particular emphasis on people orientation, empowerment, gender equality, the sustainability of initiatives and results-based management.
Mr. Albrecht was also posted at UNHCR’s Headquarters in Geneva, where he worked in the Department of International Protection. As part of his assignment he served as the principal editor of the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, the authoritative guide to third country resettlement policy and practice. Mr. Albrecht was also involved in designing the new operations management system for the Organization. These assignments were complemented by missions throughout the world.